If you are looking to modernise your calf feeding, sooner or later you will end asking yourself whether you should feed using a MilkTaxi or using the fully automated CalfExpert. The decision is often as varied as the differences in the forms of operation. We'd like to offer guidance in choosing the right option for you.
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1. Save on working time and organise your work schedule
You can save a lot of working time with both the MilkTaxi and the CalfExpert. It can quickly add up to 30 to 90 minutes a day, depending on the size of your farm and your organisation.
The MilkTaxi does away with the hassle of having to lug heavy buckets around. Faster stirring, the option to automatically start heating and pasteurisation processes and the ability to easily transport large quantities of milk also save you a great deal of working time.
Operating the MilkTaxi is relatively simple and is quickly understood even by untrained employees. The MilkTaxi is therefore a good solution for you if you need to deal with a large fluctuating workforce.
The CalfExpert feeder feeds your calves automatically. Calves only need to be trained during the first 2-3 days. A major labour-saving benefit, apart from the reduction in working time, is greater flexibility. While the MilkTaxi ties you to fixed feeding times, the calves can be monitored at the automatic feeder at any time of the day.
The CalfExpert is a good choice if you are short of labour and have a small number of well-trained individuals looking after your calves.
2. Housing system
The way you keep your calves plays a crucial role in which technology you use.
The MilkTaxi is ideal for feeding if you house a lot of calves in individual hutches or in small groups of 6-8 calves. The MilkTaxi can generally be used even if you do not wish to change anything in your current barn setup. It easily passes through all doors and is can be moved around with ease thanks to its electric drive. This makes it a flexible all-round talent on your farm.
Calf feeders are ideal for use with group housing from, e.g., 8-10 calves. Installation of the CalfExpert is very flexible thanks to the HygieneStation pumps. Nevertheless, we recommend that you work closely with your local H&L advisor to plan your barn in detail.
Since the new transport regulation requires bull calves to remain on the dairy farm for at least 4 weeks, many farms also feed these animals at the calf feeder. This represents a significant labour saving and you do not have to keep additional pens or calf hutches for the male calves.
3. Feeding programs
There are hundreds of different feeding recommendations for calves. And keeping track of all of them is difficult. It is therefore important that your approach to feeding is also flexible enough to accommodate the recommendations.
The MilkTaxi supports the mixing of milk using the "SmartMix" mixing calculator. This allows you to always mix the right amount in the ideal concentration of milk replacer.
The MilchTaxi excels particularly with whole milk, because it can collect the milk from your dairy parlour and then cool, heat or even pasteurise it. Just the way you wish to proceed.
The SmartID option allows you to program feeding curves for all calves and wean your animals off milk slowly.
The CalfExpert feeds your calves on a truly animal-specific basis. Each calf is given the composition of milk it deserves at the relevant age. The CalfExpert can run very flexible programs: for example, starting with highly digestible whole milk and later feeding with milk replacer. It is also possible to use feed additives selectively when feeding individual calves.
This gives you maximum flexibility to implement any recommendation from your feed advisor.
A major advantage is that the CalfExpert delivers the milk in small amounts at each feed. This stabilises your calves' digestion and they grow to be particularly healthy. The CalfExpert can also feed large quantities of milk, up to ad libitum, perfectly spread over several feeds a day.
4. Information and data
Good information is essential if you wish to make the right management decisions.
The standard MilkTaxi has a very simple statistical analysis feature that shows the general conditions of each pasteurisation, feeding and cleaning operation. An optional link to the CalfGuide management program means that more detailed data on individual work processes can be captured and stored.
However, how you and your employees monitor calf activity and health is your decision. This is a benefit if you are a visual person who needs to see and experience things in order to understand them well.
The CalfExpert collects information with each calf visit to the feeding station and uses this to assess the animal. It evaluates the calves based on information such as feeding quantity, sucking speed, visit frequency and animal weight and, where necessary, creates alarm lists that show you which calves you should attend to first.
This information can be accessed directly at the CalfExpert or using the free CalfGuide app on a mobile phone or PC. So the CalfExpert is certainly the right choice for you if you are a numbers person.
As you can see, there are many aspects to consider when it comes to making the right choice. Apart from the general points outlined above, there are many other factors to consider when choosing the right feeding method. Please do not hesitate to contact our H&L sales partners, who will be happy to assist you at all times.